There was a healthy amount of turmoil surrounding the Boston Celtics for most of the season. Kyrie Irving was responsible for some of that, putting his teammates under the bus a few times. But that’s mostly over now. Irving & Co. have won five of six playoff games, have homecourt over the Milwaukee Bucks, and appear to be in a much happier place.
Irving, who is learning more about the Earth’s shape by the day, was profiled by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, and opened up about his mindset. Among the things the point guard wants you to know? He knows a hell of a lot more about basketball than you and anyone else weighing in on it.
“I’ve been playing basketball a lot longer than some of these people analyzing the game,” Irving says. “I’m an actual genius when it comes to this game.
“If you ask me about basketball, I will talk all day. If you ask me about spacing at the 3:33 mark of the second quarter, I will gladly explain it. I’ll tell you what plays worked, about adjustments we make. But when it comes to personal things, or comparing myself to my NBA brothers, like, ‘Do you think you are better than this guy?’ I’m out.”
People are going to bristle at Irving saying this, but it’s likely true. Every now and again players are asked to do specific things like break down a sequence post-game and deliver a rich and compelling dissertation on what happened. LeBron James is particularly known for it.
Moreover, if I’m a coach or fan, I want someone out there who believes himself to be a basketball genius. The game moves way too fast for self-doubt. Give me unchecked hubris every single time.
And finally, we complain when our sports stars give bland answers and rip them when they come off as too cocky or real. Tough to win.